Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, "We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!"
So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but did not lie with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.
Then the king said to Amasa, "Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself."
But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.
David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba son of Bicri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master's men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us."
So Joab's men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.
While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.
Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.
Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab's hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bicri.
One of Joab's men stood beside Amasa and said, "Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!"
Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him.
After Amasa had been removed from the road, all the men went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.
Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maacah and through the entire region of the Berites, who gathered together and followed him.
All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maacah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down,
a wise woman called from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him."
He went toward her, and she asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he answered. She said, "Listen to what your servant has to say." "I'm listening," he said.
She continued, "Long ago they used to say, 'Get your answer at Abel,' and that settled it.
We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the LORD's inheritance?"
"Far be it from me!" Joab replied, "Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy!
That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bicri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I'll withdraw from the city." The woman said to Joab, "His head will be thrown to you from the wall."
Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.
Joab was over Israel's entire army; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites;
Adoniram was in charge of forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;
Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests;
and Ira the Jairite was David's priest.
During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."
The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to [spare] them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)
David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?"
The Gibeonites answered him, "We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death." "What do you want me to do for you?" David asked.
They answered the king, "As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel,
let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul--the Lord's chosen one." So the king said, "I will give them to you."
The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul.
But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.
He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.
Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night.
When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done,
he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.)
David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.
They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.
And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new [sword], said he would kill David.
But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished."
In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.
In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.
In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot--twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha.
When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.
David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
"The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
"The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.
The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot arrows and scattered [the enemies], bolts of lightning and routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.
"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
"The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.
All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.
"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
"I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them-- to the LORD, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.
"You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me,
and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me, they obey me.
They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,
who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.
He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."